Do I need to take a PMP preparation course to get my PMP certification?

One of the requirements for the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification is that you must accumulate 35 contact hours of education in project management. Some people read this to mean 35 hours taking a PMP preparation course. Now, I am totally in favour of people taking a preparation course to ensure they are ready to pass the exam. However, I would like to talk a bit about what the 35-hour requirement means.

Thirty-five hours of project management education is any training that relates to the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge). For example, if you have taken a leadership course on motivating your team, training in procuring resources, or a session on using Microsoft Project to create a project schedule, these all count.

Any training related to working with projects or project teams would count, as well as training related to the 10 knowledge areas of: project integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, procurement and stakeholder management.

You can also put bits of training together. For example, if you’ve taken 4 one-day courses and 2 half-day courses, and they all add up to 35 hours, you can input them all to represent your 35 hours of PM education.

There is a time restriction on the work experience but not for past training. This can be sometimes be confusing. Any past training you’ve ever taken can qualify if it’s related. For example, when I did my own application, I included courses from my Bachelor of Commerce degree taken many years ago. Don’t stop at 35 hours – if you have more, include them in your application.

So, there are many ways to get your 35 hours. That is not to say that you shouldn’t take a PMP prep course – you don’t have to. But these courses are certainly a great way to review the highlights of what you need to know and feel confident you have all the bases covered when you write your exam.

Good luck in all of your PMP and CAPM exam preparations!

Brenda Fay